Reflecting and Moving Forward | An Essay by Spiros Pissios (Jan 22, 2018)

My journey at St. Francis de Sales began on August 25th, 2006. I walked into my first day of preschool and never would I have expected to have such a great experience. This school is a place where I met my friends and grew closer to God for the next 11 years of my life. St. Francis de Sales has been my second home for 11 years and counting. Well being at St. Francis, I am learning beyond what’s essential. Besides learning the core subjects, teachers teach students how to treat others, how to blossom into the person he or she wants to be, and how to become a well-rounded individual. I value my educational experience at St. Francis de Sales because of the safe environment, religious opportunities, and high school preparation.

When I enter the doors of the school, I have this sense of security. It's the same feeling I get when I'm at home with my family. I feel this because of how every teacher and staff member treats each student with respect and kindness. They do whatever they can to make students feel safe and stay safe in the environment. For many of the children, the sense of security is good so they can focus on the class work. St. Francis also is a good place for students to learn more about their religion.

Attending St. Francis de Sales allows me to go to religion class every day for 45 minutes. It's a special time of the day to learn more about faith and how to stay closer to God. While in religion class, students can understand what it truly means to be Catholic. In religion we talked about the history of our church and how many early followers had to persevere to keep the church going throughout the years. Religion class is also a good time to reflect on what we can do to better ourselves and the people around us. Being reminded every day on how we should treat each other the same way we want to be treated.  It's good for every grade level to understand how to treat others with respect and kindness. St. Francis de Sales school not only prepares us spiritually, but also prepares us academically for the next chapter in our life, High School.

Our school is known to be great for high school preparation. Just recently, I shadowed at a Catholic High School. During my stay, the student I was shadowing was taking a test that same day. I took the test and later found out I received the third best score in the class. As the day continued, I felt like I was almost “re-learning”  what I have at St. Francis. This truly shows how well St. Francis prepares their students for the next level. Every year I see past students come back whether it's after graduation are on a day off, and personally thank teachers they've had in the past for helping them start on the right track. I know one day I'll be back doing the same.

Some people who are deciding if they want to send a child or children to St. Francis may be stunned by the tuition fee. It is definitely an investment. I say investment because you invest your money and time into your child's current and future success. I don't think I can ever repay what my parents invested in me between school, sports, and extracurricular activities, and for that I am very thankful.

When I come to the school, I can still remember being in three-year-old preschool with my friends who are still among me today. It's crazy thinking about all of the accomplishments in the last 11 years of my life. The friendships I've made, the knowledge I've gained, and how every action I have made has led me to the person I am today. Without everyone and everything in my life, the person I am today would be absent. When I think of my life, believe it or not, most of it is at Saint Francis de Sales because that's where I grew up. You gave me my morals, dreams, and education. Writing this has made me realize that it is time for me to start the next chapter in my life, but you never forget where it all began. As the Book of Matthew says in verse 16 chapter 18, “ on this rock I will build my church,”  for me, St. Francis is the rock of which I will build my life.